Toronto Maple Leafs should make a call on Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Recent reports suggest Dougie Hamilton could be made available and if that is the case, the Toronto Maple Leafs should try to get a deal done.

With the trade deadline a month away, there will be many players who could see their names hit the market who could be of use to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

During Saturday night’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Carolina Hurricanes could move is Dougie Hamilton. The news comes as a bit of a surprise considering the 25-year-old is in the first season with his new club.

The Hurricanes acquired the defenceman in a massive trade with the Calgary Flames where Carolina sent Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin for Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and prospect Adam Fox . So far it is safe to say Calgary has benefited greatly from the trade as Lindholm has  20 goals, 28 assists and 48 points in 43 games and Hanifin has three goals, 20 assists and 23 points in 43 games.

So why exactly would Hamilton’s name be on the block at this point in the season? Carolina has been fighting for a Wild Card spot but have struggled with the 28th ranked offence and some suspect goaltending at times.

What does this means to the Leafs? Well luckily for them Hurricanes’ owner Tom Dundon has made his intentions quite clear about what his team needs based on his draft plans.

"“We won’t be drafting defence in the first round as long as I’m here. I’ve got to have more offense, I want to lose five to four, not two to one. If we lose five to four, at least I’ll have fun,” said Dundon to the Triangle Business Journal."

Safe to say the Hurricanes’ well-spoken owner is making his club’s intentions quite clear which is quite ironic when they moved Lindholm and Jeff Skinner for pennies on the dollar. Now the team has some decisions to make given the depth on their blueline and the lack of balance upfront so why not try to get a valuable asset from a surplus on your roster?

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Trading Hamilton would not be an advisable move considering how  consistent he has throughout his career. Since the 2014-15 season, Hamilton has 58 goals, 135 assists and 193 points in 358 games including 131 points at even strength which is 13th among defenceman.

While that might not seem remarkable, Hamilton has only averaged 20:28 minutes in that time which ranks 97th among defenceman in that stretch, and 46th in power play minutes. It is head scratching to see a player who has a proven track record to get more of an opportunity considering what the Flames and Hurricanes paid to acquire Hamilton.

This is a player who leads the league in CF% since the 2014-15 season at 55.2 per cent which would be a valuable addition to a Leafs team that has nothing close to that especially on the right side.

General manager Kyle Dubas has made it clear the Leafs need to improve on their zone exits and that is what Hamilton would bring to the table. He is a player who uses his passing and skating ability and fortunately for the Leafs, this could be the most realistic option for them.

Obviously there was excitement when Alex Pietrangelo‘s name was thrown out and at this point, he might be the most proven option but with no word on whether he would be available, Hamilton could become the top target.

What it would cost the Leafs to acquire Hamilton will be tough to gauge because it all depends on how the Hurricanes market him. The Toronto native is signed for two more seasons after this one at $5.75 million which is a reasonable cap hit for a top-four defenceman.

Carolina probably won’t be looking to get a defenceman in return, this could mean reopening the possibility of trading William Nylander but we know Dubas has no intention of trading him. The Hurricanes would definitely want a forward in return for Hamilton if Nylander is not on the table, Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen would probably be the targets.

Considering how desperate the Hurricanes look to be especially with a new owner looking to make a splash, this might be the time for Dubas to try and solve a major issue his team continues to deal with. It would also be fitting to see Hamilton go up against the Boston Bruins potentially in the playoffs.

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What do you think about the possibility of acquiring Hamilton? What do you think it would cost to get a deal done? Let us know in the comments below.